Sunday, May 17, 2015

NYT: The Same-Sex Couple Who Got a Marriage License in 1971

Minneapolis couple Jack Baker and Michael McConnell were profiled on the front page of today's Sunday New York Times as the first same-sex couple known to apply for a marriage license, in 1970. Read their fascinating story here.

The University of Minnesota Press will publish their memoir in January 2016.

MINNEAPOLIS — Long before the fight over same-sex marriage began in earnest, long before gay couples began lining up for marriage licenses, Jack Baker and Michael McConnell decided to wed.

The year was 1967. Homosexuality was still classified as a disorder, sodomy was illegal in nearly every state, and most gay men and lesbians lived in fearful secrecy.

But from the age of 14, eyeing young men in his father’s barbershop, Mr. McConnell dreamed of living “happily ever after” with a partner.

So when Mr. Baker proposed moving in together, Mr. McConnell challenged him. “If we’re going to do this,” he replied, “you have to find a way for us to get married.”

Mr. Baker remembers his initial reaction: “I had never heard of such a thing.”

He enrolled in law school to try to make it happen.

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